(I googled "facepalm" and found many amusing images, but this one says it all)
Games Workshop made news again in the last few days, and once again it's not good if you're a loyal customer. GW's new terms and conditions for independent retailers were released and essentially put an end to all bypassing of your home countries standard taxes and tariffs for standard retail purchases by purchasing over the internet. Essentially you poor bastards in Canada, Australia New Zealand, Brazil and a whole host of other places can no longer buy GW products from your favorite internet retailers like the War Store here in the US or Maelstrom games in UK whom normally can sell and ship to you 20% cheaper (or more!) than you can buy it in your local store (if they can even get it). Now you are forced to pay whatever prices that result from not only import duties and bad currency conversions but in some cases whatever juice your regional wholesaler has room to tack on before it hits your retailer and gets passed on to you, in some cases your talking about your standard GW blisters costing 2x as much as I can walk into my local GW shop and buy it for.
This is seriously kick in the pants for hobbyists and collectors who are just trying to get by making a living. I have to seriously wonder if GW thinks their hobby is only for the rich or well off? Yes, we know kids with cash friendly parents and middle aged guys with expendable income are the target market but do they need to make it so annoyingly obvious? Such blatant price gouging on a trade level is really low, and stinks of the worst excesses capitalism allows. Now of course GW and its defenders will claim they are just trying to protect local retailers, but GW's standard bi-annual price increases (of which there is another one coming up end of the month) make that claim extremely hypocritical. All they're doing is shrinking and shrinking the customer base and shooting that independent retailer your trying to protect in foot because eventually people just stop...not being able to buy GW models isnt the same as not being able to put food on the table there inst much choice there. I just happened to find a receipt for my Empire Army book bought in 2007 and it was $20..the same army book will now cost $33 or something, have costs really gone up all the much with the mass gutting of the company that went on 2009? after awhile you just have to laugh.
Adding insult to injury GW also announced its Finecast Range of miniatures. For those that dont know, there's been talk for the last couple of months of GW phasing out metals in favor of a new resin / polymer that was cheaper, held detail better and wasnt as brittle as standard resin. My first reaction to this was, " I'll believe it when I see it" I've never seen a resin model look as good as metal one and I've seen plenty of rapid proto-typed resin polymers that dont look as good either. However since these could be cast in existing molds maybe there's promise- we'll have to see, but if they think the can get away with the crap Forge World does..I think they are nuts.
The sick thing about this is the basis in this change lies in the shortage of (or just price increase) of Tin , the fundamental metal in Pewter, which comes mainly these days from China..with Tin at an all time high as a commodity surely cutting into GW's bottom line, this seems like a great idea, however they're deftly rolling out the "Finecast" range as "special" miniatures and slap as much as a 25% increase on the Finecast models that are just the same damn sculpts in a new cheaper material. PT Barnum said "there is a sucker born every minute" and he wasnt kidding. On alot of blogs we all read, I am seeing guys salivating over this like its some awesome great thing. Its the same damn models and molds guys but in a cheaper material and your paying alot more for it!....nice hoodwink GW has going here. Now caveats must apply here...if somehow these models are stunningly better than there metal counterparts, I'll eat some crow here, and probably even buy a few..but I've had resin models break falling over on the desk let alone dropping one on the floor, getting past the brittle thing and new frequency of miscasts are just a couple of hurdles I see, granted I've become partial to metals...I just like some weight to my solo models, obviously I've got nothing against plastic ("plastic legions", and all)..I'm not opposed to new materials as long as quality is there, but the whole "metal is too expensive we're going to use a cheaper material AND charge you more!", is just flat out bad for business. The runaway train that is Games Workshop continues on down the line......